The Theme Of Revenge In Othello Essay

, Research Paper

The Theme of Revenge in Othello

Revenge is a constant theme throughout the play Othello. It is portrayed through the

character Iago. Iago is determined to destroy Othello and his loved ones. This retribution is a

result of Othello promoting Cassio to the position of lieutenant. The theme of revenge is the

motivation of Iago?s hatred toward Othello.

In the beginning of the play, Iago feels betrayed by his good friend, Othello. Through

many years of loyalty and service Iago is ?[i]n personal suit to make [himself] [Othello?s]

lieutenant?(39). When Othello has to choose his lieutenant, he appoints Cassio. Iago feels hurt

and betrayed, and realizes ?there [is] no remedy?(40) except for revenge. He ?. . . hate[s] the

Moor . . . ?(63) and comes to the conclusion that ? . . . nothing can or shall content [his] soul

[t]ill [he is] evened with [Othello] . . . ?(76). In an attempt for revenge, Iago publically humiliates

Brabantio at Othello?s expense. In the middle of the night, Iago calls outside Brabantio?s house

to inform him that his daughter, Desdemona has run away and eloped with Othello. Coming from

two different backgrounds, Desdemona?s father takes offense to their interracial marriage. This

demeans Othello and causes him to prove to Brabantio that he did not use any witchcraft or black

magic to win Desdemona?s heart. When Desdemona professes her true love for Othello, her

father disowns her. Iago?s first attempt to destroy Othello is successful, yet he still craves

revenge. He devises a plan to destroy Othello. He wants to make Othello believe that Cassio is

having an affair with his wife Desdemona. This will cause Othello to regret appointing Cassio as

his lieutenant and simultaneously destroy Othello?s life. He knows that he ?must bring this

monstrous birth to the world?s light?(64) if he wants to avenge Othello?s betrayal. Iago is

successful in convincing Othello that his wife is unfaithful. Outraged, Othello murders

Desdemona. Immediately after, Emilia, Iago?s wife and Desdemona?s ?mistress?(156), explains

to Othello that her husband has been lying to him and Desdemona had been faithful. Iago then

murders Emilia. Iago succeeds in destroying Othello?s life as well as his own.

In summation, Iago consumes his life with hatred and vengeance. Revenge is one of the

main themes in this play. It drives Iago to do many irrational things and destroys Iago?s

friendship with Othello, the love Desdemona and Othello shared, and the trust between Cassio

and Othello. The need for revenge is part of human nature, but if it is blown out of proportion, it

can have devastating effects.


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